Do the Next Thing

When you find yourself frozen with fear, plagued by insecurities, overwhelmed with life, or experiencing suffering, this poem is for you. The author is unknown, but it has been loved and used by many godly people through the years- Elisabeth Elliott being one of them. It’s one of her favorites and I often find myself quoting, “Do the next thing” in many different circumstances.

From an old English parsonage, down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration–”DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a question, many of fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings, “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee, “DO THE NEXT THING.”

– Author Unknown

On Being an Intentional Mom

3I am surrounded by young mothers where we live- in our apartment complex, all over campus, at my church. New moms with joy and excitement on their faces on some days and exhaustion written there on other days. Around here, intentional parenting is the norm. Mother’s intentionally taking time for gospel moments with their children when they disobey or disrespect. Mothers reading scripture with their kids, praying with them, teaching them biblical truths. When I see this, my heart is warmed and encouraged. This too is what I long for if God chooses to bless us with children- to be able to share the good news of the gospel with my kids on a daily basis.

2Because there are days when I read news headlines and catch the latest stories on TV and I am prone to despair. In what kind of world will I be raising up future children? What kind of mom will I be if I myself am afraid of what’s out there? Oh but I remember that our Father has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. And I look at those young moms and I see that it is possible to bring up godly children in this ungodly world.

1So here’s to mothers, my own included, who are sacrificing themselves on the altar of intentional parenting. You are raising adults, not children, to be ambassadors for Christ in the world, “soldiers of Christ in truth arrayed”. The way I understand it, any woman can give birth and be labeled a “mom”, but it takes a special woman, like Mary-called of God, to be an intentional, gospel-centered mom. I know enough to know that its not easy. But I also know that  it is a glorious, God-honoring, and rewarding task.

5When the days are tough, when the kids are defiant, when the messes won’t clean themselves, know young women like me are watching. We don’t need to see a perfect home, but we do need to see that it is possible to create a grace-filled, gospel-centered home. I’m thankful for my mom who sacrificed so much to stay home and raise us in this way and I’m thankful for other moms who are constantly showing me what it looks like to do this in the early years.

Thank you for being biblical women and godly mothers- setting the bar high, but by the grace of God not impossibly high

Photography by the great Kari Nichols.